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Beethoven’s «Eroica»

Thematic Studies- Translated by Ernest Bernhardt-Kabisch

Constantin Floros

With this study the author «opened up a previously locked door of Beethoven research» (Martin Geck). The book presents conclusive answers to questions that had occupied critics for more than a century. It makes clear what exactly Beethoven and his contemporaries meant by the term «heroic». It proves that the «heroic-allegorical ballet» The Creatures of Prometheus is a key work for an understanding of the Eroica, and shows that Beethoven associated the First Consul of the French Republic, Napoleon Bonaparte, with the mythical figure of the Titan Prometheus. The book draws on interdisciplinary researches in the areas of Greek Mythology, Napoleonic History and Comparative Literature.

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Foreword ...............................................................................................................1 Preliminaries .........................................................................................................2 Testimonies regarding Beethoven’s Sources of Inspiration I. Previous Hypotheses on the Subject of the Eroica.......................................5 II. The Semantics of the Term “Eroica”..........................................................13 The Categories drama eroico, ballo eroico and danza eroica III. The Subject of Salvatore Viganò’s Heroic Ballet The Creatures of Prometheus .....................................................................21 IV. Beethoven’s Prometheus Music .................................................................31 1. The Relation of the Individual Numbers to the Scenes of the Action 2. The Music of the First Act 3. The Music of the Second Act Una danza eroica: “A martial scene” (No. 8) Una tragica scena: the Death of Prometheus (No. 9) Una giuocosa scena: the Resurrection of Prometheus (Pastoral No. 10) The numbers 11-16 The Solos of the Creatures (Nos. 14 and 15) Danze festive: the Prometheus Finale (No. 16) V. The Genesis of the Eroica ..........................................................................49 VI. The Eroica in its Relation to the Prometheus Music and Other Works.....55 1. Preliminaries 2. Heroic Elements in the Opening Movement 3. Una tragica scena: the Marcia funebre 4. Una giuocosa scena: the Scherzo 5. Danze festive: the Eroica Finale (“per festeggiare il sovvenire di un grand Uomo”) VII. The Titan Prometheus-Bonaparte as Viewed by Beethoven and his Time ............................................................................................................71 VI VIII. On “Characteristic” Instrumental Works and Instrumental Scenes in Beethoven .................................................................................................79 Afterword ............................................................................................................83 Appendix .............................................................................................................87 Abbrevations .......................................................................................................89 Notes ...................................................................................................................91 Selective Bibliography......................................................................................109 1. Documents 2. Sketches 3. Ballet History 4. On the Ballet The Creatures of Prometheus 5. On Beethoven in General 6. Studies of the Eroica 7. On Prometheus and the Subject of...

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